Alignment Matters: Straighter Teeth for Better Health
Did you know the alignment of your teeth affects your health and wellbeing? Having straight teeth is more than just a cosmetic issue. Read on to learn more about the impact of having misaligned teeth on your overall health and what you can do to fix this problem.
Merriam-Webster defines alignment as “the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each other, a forming in line, etc.”. Misalignment is just the opposite of this- it is improper positioning, not forming in line. Your dentist may use the term “malocclusion”, which means teeth that aren’t aligned properly- usually they are crooked, crowding other teeth, and throwing off your bite. When crowding happens, it’s harder to keep the teeth clean- making them more vulnerable to tooth decay.
Most people know it is best to avoid tooth decay. It can lead to cavities, pain, infections, and it severe cases, even an abscess or tooth loss. But did you know misaligned teeth can cause a lot of other health problems, too? When teeth are severely misaligned, it impacts how we chew, speak, and can even affect how we breathe. A person with crooked teeth may have a tooth (or several teeth) that dig into their gums and cheeks. It may cause them to bite their lips more frequently when talking or eating.
Over time, misalignment results in injury to the soft tissues of our mouth- making us more prone to infections. The improper distribution of force on the surface of crooked teeth can eventually lead to teeth being loose or even falling out.
Having a crooked or crowded smile may impact a person’s mental health, as well. When we don’t feel confident in how our smile looks, we may not let others see it. Over time, that embarrassment over the appearance of the teeth takes a toll– particularly for young people who may be more at risk for teasing from their peers.
So, what can you do if your teeth are crooked? Is there a way to fix crowded teeth? The good news is, yes, there are treatments available to correct teeth that are misaligned. Your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment to help coax the teeth back into their natural position and restore your bite.
Today, we have more options for orthodontic treatment. Depending on the correction you need, traditional braces with brackets and wires may be needed, or your dentist may recommend a removable aligner tray like Invisalignâ. These sleek, clear trays are hardly noticeable, can be removed to eat, and are easy to clean. Your Today’s Dental dentist will fit you for the trays right in their office. The convenience of Invisalignâ makes it a popular choice for many people.
Once the treatment with braces or aligner trays is complete, it will be very important to wear a retainer (an appliance that helps keep teeth where they’re supposed to be) for the prescribed number of hours every day. And as always, it is important to maintain your regular schedule of visits to the dentist every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning to keep your newly straightened teeth clean and healthy.
One important thing to note – there are online, direct-to-consumer companies offering straightening trays for use at home. They advertise their aligner trays as a more affordable option, and they claim they are safe and effective. However, they are not safe. In severe cases, they may even cause irreparable harm to your jaw or tooth loss.
It is very important to be under the care of a dentist or orthodontist who is familiar with your individual needs and is monitoring your treatment regularly to ensure the teeth are moving as they should. This can help you avoid the need for extensive (and expensive) dental work to correct damage from the use of home aligning trays.
Your dental insurance will often cover a portion of orthodontic treatment. At Today’s Dental, you can apply for Care Credit to help spread out the cost of orthodontic treatment into affordable monthly payments. If you have crooked or crowded teeth, call today to make an appointment to be evaluated and discuss your options.